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Ring Smart Security System “Unjustifiably Invaded” Privacy, Court Rules

A UK judge has ruled that a smart security system set up in a home in Oxfordshire “unjustifiably invaded” the privacy of a neighbour.

Dr Mary Fairhurst claimed that various smart devices installed by neighbour Jon Woodard “broke data laws and contributed to harassment.”

The judge found in favour of the claimant, after being told the Ring doorbell took images of her house and garden, while another camera installed on the shed captured her entire garden and parking space.

In addition, microphones that could record conversations, and were unable to be turned off, were deemed by the judge to be “even more problematic and detrimental than video data”.

“Personal data may be captured from people who are not even aware that the device is there, or that it records and processes audio and personal data,” she said in her judgement, which is a breach of both the UK Data Protection Act and UK GDPR.

Woodard said the cameras were installed in good faith, to deter break-ins.

Amazon said in a statement: “We’ve put features in place across all our devices to ensure privacy, security and user control remain front and centre – including customisable privacy zones to block out ‘off-limit’ areas, motion zones to control the areas customers want their Ring device to detect motion, and Audio Toggle to turn audio on and off.”

The judge wasn’t convinced by this, adding: “Even if an activation zone is disabled so that the camera does not activate to film by movement in that area, activation by movement in one of the other non-disabled activation zones will cause the camera to film across the whole field of view.”


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